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Muslim Nations Call For 'Humanitarian Trust Fund' For Crisis-Hit Afghanistan

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Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (left) meets with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in Islamabad on December 18.

Member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have agreed to establish a trust fund to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan that has left millions facing hunger following the Taliban takeover in August.

The fund would be set up under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank to channel humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in coordination with other groups, delegates of the 57-member OIC said on December 19 in a unanimously adopted resolution released after an extraordinary meeting in Islamabad.

The delegates urged the Islamic Development Bank to “expeditiously operationalize the Humanitarian Trust Fund by the first quarter of 2022” and called on the international community to announce pledges to the fund and provide assistance to Afghanistan.

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The one-day meeting -- the biggest international gathering on Afghanistan since the Taliban toppled the Western-backed government in Kabul -- comes as the UN has repeatedly warned that Afghanistan teeters on the brink of an economic and humanitarian catastrophe with millions of Afghans being left without work and lacking food.

The international community has refused to recognize Afghanistan’s new rulers, urging them to establish an inclusive government and to ensure the fundamental human rights of all Afghans. Key global donors have blocked most of their aid to the country, and reserves of the Afghan central bank held abroad were also frozen.

In their resolution, the IOC delegates urged Afghanistan's rulers to abide by "obligations under international human rights covenants, especially with regards to the rights of women, children, youth, elderly, and people with special needs."

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The Islamabad meeting was attended by a number of foreign ministers from the OIC, as well as delegates from the United States, China, Russia, the European Union, and UN. The Taliban-led government was represented by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

"We cannot ignore the danger of complete economic meltdown," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at the opening of the conference.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called on the United States to “delink the Taliban government from 40 million Afghan citizens, even if they [have] been in conflict with the Taliban for 20 years.”

In his speech, Muttaqi called the freezing of Afghan assets "a clear violation of the human rights of Afghans."

Earlier this month, the World Bank said donors approved the transfer of $280 million from a frozen trust fund to two aid agencies to help Afghanistan respond to its humanitarian crisis, while the United States formalized guidance allowing personal remittances to flow to Afghanistan.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AFP
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